Thursday, April 28, 2016

Setting It Right

Yesterday, I ran across a new old-TV channel on the air locally, and saw that one of the shows coming up for the evening was The Lieutenant. This show was EARLY Gene Roddenberry, before he launched Star Trek. It stars Gary Lockwood, who was in the second TV pilot of Trek (ST's FIRST "reboot" - with Captain Kirk instead of Pike), as the bad guy with the silver eyeballs. He also appeared in a little-known sci fi outing called 2001. Look it up, it's tripendicular.

I met Lockwood and Kier Dullea the first year Mr. X and I were dating. They asked us if we were “in The Business” because we were so good looking. Then we met David Carradine, which was a whole 'nother story. Oh the good old days.

Anyway, one of the eps of The Lieutenant on last night was “To Set It Right” – about racial conflict on a Marine base. It includes Dennis Hopper and Nichelle Nichols. This episode was not aired at the time it was made. Too controversial.

Supposedly, this episode’s shutdown was part of the reason Roddenberry conceived of taking the issues and themes he wanted to explore into outer space. So he could get away with it.

Watching the ep now, it almost feels like something that’d have a hard time even today, and not just because of the 50-year-old linguistics. It really is pretty incendiary; I’m fully impressed with how brave a production it was.

Ms. Nichols is terribly young, wonderfully warm, and absolutely, brilliantly intelligent – and, as she remains even today, just a breathtaking beauty. She has some meat in this part, really difficult dialogue and a couple showcase scenes in which her education is on full display. “He’s been a negro a lot longer than you’ve been thinking about his problem.” She gives the would-be liberal white boy some SERIOUS what-for without a shrill note. Without her scenes, what the script has to say would be queasily uncomfortable - dated in the awfullest way - but she provides relevance that lasts and is meaningful *right now*.

I could not find the whole episode, but if you have Get-TV, look up the schedule for "The Lieutenant".

And, if not: here are a few scenes:

This episode does use the N-word, "negro" and "boy" - but not in the casual "well that was how they *talked* back then" way, but in a pointed way, questioning the way they talked, in what was "now" at the time. It also gorgeously deconstructs the White Guy Saves The Day plan, and avoids becoming a Very Special Episode - or making things easy. It looks at the perspectives of multiple minority characters, each of whom has their own voice, and is an actual *character*.  So by the time it does end with a pair of special moments, it feels more earned than a completely pat TV script.

This gets the "save until I delete" treatment on the DVR. And I'll watch more, to be sure.

Thoughts From a Thursday

Why is it humans bite our tongues while we're eating? NEVER seen this in my dog or my cat, never heard of it. Do other primates? Enquiring minds want to know.

Ahw man, it's Gruesome Injury Story Time at work. Should I bust out (hee) the one about the time I had to go to the ER twice in a day, or the one about when I fell full on my face on the curb at age four, and tried to wash off the bruises because I didn't even know what they were?

How is it I still need to lose 70 pounds, when I can't even finish a salad for lunch or a 1.5 oz package of nuts, and I'm getting in .8 mile walks at work AND walking the dog most mornings and evenings? 48-year-old metabolism, you need to suck it.

... and, even as I think that, according to my daily "why aren't you logging onto Twitter EVERY. DAY?" email revals to me that @Alancumming says, "It's amazing how upcoming nude scenes make you suddenly find the time to do more cardio." I dig Alan Cumming like a double-wide grave, I dig him like a strip-mining operation. I dig him the mostest. Or at least a whole big bunch.

I do'wanna do recall notices today. Can I update a document only one person has asked for in six months instead? Can I, huh? Pleeeeeeezzz?

90s dance tuneage is better motivation than Dokken to do desk calesthenics. But 100% Pure Love would have been better than Gypsy Woman (AKA La Da Dee/La Da Dum), brainworm-wise. Still: Pump up the Jam, yaw.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Writing From an Image

I never did find the story in this picture; perhaps because I have been focusing more on the WIP than on coming up with the verb that was necessary for this be one. Instead, here is what did come out.




Skinless; there is no mask.

His face looks young; in his twenties, nothing more. But Sisyphus has worked his eternity already, and every lifetime ever known.

And yet ... his face. His face. Reflecting, even without the sheen of human skin - but not without the grace of features - peace. This is his job not merely because it is his punishment, but because it is *his*. Each life, like this: none other can have it. None other can live it as we can.

He has moved beyond the work, into the role, his role. If appearing creates being, the favor is abundantly returned. Naked as he is of all pretense - of even the modest mask of his own skin - he is beautiful.

Sisyphus fills his lot not in submission, but in accession to life; that this is his life, and to his life he owes himself. There is no other life to hope for - to pray for the death of this one, of what has come.


Only Sisyphus is free.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

The Palisade

Things being what they have been for the past several weeks, I have found myself, on the all-too-brief weekends, less than eagerly motivated to cook and clean and do the personal life thing.

Depressive Hate-Dishes

Today, though, I motivated. Indeed, I began last night. I washed a good half of the massive palisade of dishes I have let pile up, almost in a dare to myself, while family life has been so difficult. Today, I finished the pile. And have tidied up the guest room, where off-season clothes go for storage, and pretty much fully switched out winter and put it away now. Bed is stripped and remade, and the dusting is begun.

Here at 6:03, there is plenty more to do (oy, two storeys of stairs and multiple loads of laundry!), but today already I have motivated more than in ... honestly, in recent memory. Gotta admit that.

The day is bright, the season is fresh, the house is going well, and I have a quiet evening enjoying it (and doing laundry!) to look forward to. This house, when it's nice and clean, is a pretty lovely place to be. Not least because it has Gossamer TEC and Penelope in it.

So. How's your St. George's Day going? Conquer any dragons? Mine was made of dirty dishes, tell me about yours ...


Happy St. George's Day! Please join J.V. Cullen for a few minutes' fun with facts on April 23. He's always witty, easy reading - plus, Star Wars references and the phrase "Bring out the kittens." *Snort!*

Leila Gaskin has a GREAT post on women (or men) who read books. And I'll be needing the WWRB t-shirt she's designing.

THIS JUST IN: Lilac Shoshani has an interview with Donna Everhart, author of The Education of Dixie Dupree. Neato-spedito!

In the very last link here, we took a look at the stunning preservation of a seventeenth-century silk gown. Now we have an idea as to whose gown that was. I'm completely taken away when we can find owers and stories and histories of artifacts which are interesting enough in their own right, but can be deepened with this kind of provenance.

Gary Corby on The Beatles and stadium gigs even older than Shea. Who wouldn't want to hear an ancient Grecian trumpet-blowing contest?

Proving that The History Blog has more to offer than fascinating silk dresses - how about the intriguing finds at an archaeological dig at Malcolm X's house? From the eighteenth century to 1959 records (you can listen to at a link provided), get a load of where Mr.X (not mine) grew up.

Here is magnificent writing, including a grabber of a first sentence. Whipchick, on the times she's been on fire ... "Burn wards are full of children." *Shudder*

Friday, April 22, 2016

Beginnings ... (?)

It looks like my last post was the 2500th on this blog. Interesting; it was about neverending dying. It was unplanned.

Like so much of life. Unplanned.

One year ago, I allowed myself to contemplate putting The Ax and the Vase away. At the time, I could not face that as a death, but a persistent coma eventually becomes a death for those who are still in the waking life. It hasn't been long since I memorialized that death, not for the first time, but pretty much in that context. I even said, there is a freedom in letting go. I have been seeing the "release" aspect of death a great deal of late.

And so, it is hard. It is hard to contemplate hope instead.

Stripping off the preciousness and poetry: it's hard, and terrifying, to find myself considering self-publishing.

There is an aspect to the idea that feels like death, itself. The dream of traditional publishing, for me, has been a long one - as long as the writing of Ax itself was, and that was ten years or more. In the beginning, there was a powerful challenge and a business to learn, and that appealed to me. In the midst of that education, the idea of learning another way was overwhelming.

I've seen the commitment it takes to be an indie. I've long, too, seen the liberty inherent in being pre-published. For all these years, the technical side of the self-pub path has been aplenty to stymie me and allow me to maintain an almost studied ignorance, focusing on the traditional pub path.

Damn my brain. I find with age, it is more open, not less, to new ideas and new ways of doing things. I'm a Virginian! This is not natural.

But, even my wee and paltry brain is capable of perception. It has not escaped me that the infrastructure and the process of self-pub has been refined and cultivated over the same years indie's reputation has grown, along with its popularity. And my wee and paltry brain occasionally gets the idea it might just be big enough to learn something new.

And my heart and my talent and my uppity-osity kind of think Ax is a good novel. That it should not die.

I'm still very well aware of its disadvantages as a product. But vanity wonders ... could it work in a market unlike traditional publishing? In this, my wee and paltry brain may admittedly be prone to arrogance.

I am by no stretch committed. Too much to learn even to begin. And this time has been a hard time; it is possibly the worst time in the world to take on such an enterprise. But this is perhaps part of the reason I contemplate it.

As for the rest: I blame my wee and paltry brain. And reading. Reading. Reading. Reading. And a friend who is willing to give me the benefit of her experience and expertise, at least as a starting point. I am grateful for Leila Gaskin. As who wouldn't be?


The comments are open. I would love to see others' thoughts.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Never knew how much I would love him.

Never anticipated how much I would admire him.

Monday, April 18, 2016


Today at work, I was thinking about the stress my family has been under , and half-thought to myself, "As human beings, we are not made to watch another person die." Instantly, I realized that this was incorrect.

As human beings, we are supposed to be with others - those we know, love, share community with - in illness and death, birth and joy.

It's the cube farm we're not made to do this in. Isolated from those we share the most with and under flourescent lights, breathing canned air, muffled by white noise.

Tears and blood and messy moments aren't the unnatural. Being compartmentalized and pressed away from these things is.

Saturday, April 16, 2016


Janet Reid quoted me at some length in this week’s epic edition of her Sunday Week in Review …

DLM had some very wise words to our questioner:
(I)t's in no way my place to tell another author their vision must be blinkered, but I can at least speak to the necessity (sometimes) of putting away a novel. And it does not come lightly.

OP, I spent ten years learning how to write a novel, and writing it. Some of those latter years, I queried. I learned I had more work to do, I did it, I queried again. What came out of that was a VERY good novel; a good read, a fascinating look at a little-regarded piece of world history. And a book I cannot sell.

It's been a year since I first allowed myself to even conceive of the idea of putting this work away. But I quickly realized it was necessary. Years of my life. A story I still love. All those dreams. And the universe's answer was "no."

Believe me when I say, I know how hard it is. I know how heartbreaking.

But I also know this: to put that firstborn book away, to let it rest, to stop asking more of it than the market can realistically yield ... is LIBERATING.

I’ll be honest, it’s hard not to think (though she has never said as much to me) she agrees with the reasoning by which I came to retire The Ax and the Vase.

Speaking of which:

Something I said to someone today, about The Ax and the Vase … “It's a GREAT novel. But right now, the he market is not dying of need for novels about The Ultimate White Dude in Power. … I hated losing those years of my life. I hated putting that novel away. And I know it's been the right thing to do, and I'm even glad. Clovis' voice isn't the voice we need to hear, not right now. It hurt like hell, but I learned and grew and what I've gained from the experience I would never give up.”

Tom Williams and I were talking recently about the new image header on his blog, and he said it helped to inspire his most recent work. I can remember falling into cover images when I was a kid, coming into the world of the book – or, perhaps more often, a world of my own making, and finding universes filled with tales. It seems a good time to write from an image. Unrelatedly (?), I’ve also read a little, of late, about Tantalus and Sisyphus. And the Caustic Cover Critic led me, a moment ago, to this. Stay tuned for a short piece, born of these things. I’m thinking world-building of my own …
Unless the short stories I've been posting are throwing off the blog content? Opinions welcome.

The History Blog has given me a few chances lately to get out of the usual Western European and/or American groove.

In a once-inaccessible cliff tomb in Nepal, we find the tantalizing possibility that The Silk Road circa 500 AD had a much more southerly route than has historically been believed.

An excavation at a museum which once was a priory turns up a tiny Arabic chess piece. There is a speculative piece of background about Cardinal Wolsey’s guests at Wallingford Priory that provides some lovely opportunities for stories about someone losing a piece of a game with which they traveled, five centuries ago, but I perhaps will not be the one to write that story. For me, the truly interesting part is what a bishop’s mitre has in common with a war elephant.

Another evocative find is the jewelry treasure which may have been hidden to save it in a period of upheaval: “The National Museum of History experts believe the cache of silver jewels was a family fortune buried in the turbulent days of the Chiprovtsi Uprising in the fall of 1688. Since almost everyone in the area was killed in battle, executed, enslaved or fled, there was nobody left to dig up the treasure.” Difficult not to imagine the desperation in this poignant hidden silver.

Back in my English groove, the photos of this  13th century mosaic floor at Somerset is a gorgeous look at a period when decoration was marvelously bright and bold. When I first became familiar with 13th-15th century European and English architecture and furnishings, I was astonished by the exuberant and high-contrast graphics and bright colors. Modern preconceptions tend to color everything in The Past (and especially the so-called medieval period) a bit of a faded sepia tone, but five minutes’ perusal of any variety of heraldic design should put paid to this notion, and heraldic design is dominant in this rare sample of a noble’s expensive tiled floor. Glorious!

For an idea of the vividness of a medieval interior, take a look here.

If you were interested in the Silk Road story, or my own obsession with historical costume and conservation/preservation of textiles, this seventeenth-century find is a STUNNING rare piece, colors still tantalizingly present and the cloth in excellent condition. From a *shipwreck* no less!

Friday, April 15, 2016

A Short Story

It causes incredible trauma to knock a person unconscious.

In movies, clocking someone on the head and knocking them out cold is a handy switch to flip, to take characters out of a scene. There's no drama attached to it, certainly no medical reality. Knocking someone out in a movie is just a "beat" - just a throway "yeah cool" before something gets blown up and maybe - maybe - The Wrong Person dies, so the hero/ine can finally reach their finish line.

There are no finish lines. Jerks and restarts, crashes and troubleshooting. No real endings or beginnings. No real episodes. Life doesn't proceed in story arcs. It's why writing is never good enough.

Reading that scene, where she half-hilariously knocked out the bad guy with a flowerpot in a greenhouse. The greenhouse setting only used so that, inevitably, someone could crash through a glass wall.

Eleventy-hundred scripts a day swirl through the restaurants of Hollywood in hopes of making it before That One Producer. Telegenic wait staff carry ten thousand poorly formatted scripts on eight thousand two-year-old smart phones. The telegenic girls bend low while they serve, the telegenic boys caress square or slumping shoulders with their hips--never hard enough to spill anything. They're all writers. They're all directors. They'e all fodder; all they really want is to be in front of a camera, even a camera for a cable network.

They can't wait to get knocked out. They will die for you on cue. On camera. Put me in a scene just to turn me off! I'll be that plot device! Just take me!

Just love me.

And I realized: the flowerpot is more important.

And I was finally knocked out.

Image: Wikimedia

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Snobbery, Fashion, and Manners of Speaking

The vocal fry thing was only the beginning.

In recent months, verbal linguistics have been a constant obsession. I keep noticing how speedily pronunciations are evolving, and thinking about how they have changed in the past.

Watching films made in the 1930s, I get a sense of the vogue way to speak when my grandmothers were young - what "modern" used to me - and I wonder how their voices differed from one another in their primes, based on the way I remember them before they died. Both Virginian, but from different places, different backgrounds. I can still hear my mom's mother's voice fairly clearly in my head.

Listening to younger women now - and knowing that, though my generation's ears often find it annoying and even unintelligent-sounding, vocal fry and creak are now considered signifiers of education and success - I listen for different types of this evolved valspeak, and try to understand where the annoying affectations of my own youth became the worthy attainments of a new age ... and I wonder how quickly another mode of speaking will take over, what *is* taking over, and how these things will sound to those finding their own, new voices. How quickly fashion will change.

I wonder, too, how much of this occurred - how quickly speech changed - before media developed and burgeoned and kept us constantly aware of how we and others sound. Those thirties movies came at an era when image was literally projected for the first time, and sound became an emblematic part of fashion.

Clearly, language has always changed its sound. If new ways of speaking had not always superseded old ways - in coinage, but just as fundamentally in sound and emphasis - we'd still be speaking in what we now like to call proto Indo-European roots.

It's hard not to think recorded sound and image have not affected the speed with which these changes occur. It seems only yesterday I was complaining about the ubiquity of people emphatically growling HUJAPASSENT to indicate their certainty about something, and now I haven't heard it in months. Already out of vogue? I'm not even sure when I last heard curate; but artisinal has been fairly popular for a couple of years.

Getting out of coinage trends and looking at pronunciation, current fashion sounds to fogeys of (say) my Certain Age ... well, actually infantile. There is a trend for both overstatement and inaccuracy in diction, and some of the inflections and emphases echo those of a child just learning to speak.

A sampling of pronunciations which seem to be crossing regional lines, so do not appear to be related to particular accents:

Overdone ...
           diDINT (didn't)
           JOOLuhree (jewelry)
           feahMAlee (family)
           FOWurd (forward)
           MEEkup (makeup)

Underdone ...
           fill (feel)
           housiz (houses - first S sibilant)         
           uhMAYzeen (amazing)
           BEEdy (it took me some patience to understand this as a pronunciation of "beauty")
           BEDdur (better**)
The intensity of emphasis on consonants in middle of a word reminds old folks like me of a liddle kid's care in speaking words still new to their tongues - training the tongue to every part, every syllable of a word. It is adorable in a three year old, the way a toddler's emphatic way of walking is cute, as they learn refined balance.

In an adult - to more elderly adults - all this sounds considerably strange.

Here's where it gets REALLY interesting:

Considering how strange my slurring and curiously unsyncopated manner of speech must sound to those putting (let's face it) so much more effort into their speaking.

At Janet Reid's blog yesterday, we touched in the comments on the concept of dated voice, looking at slang and its changes since the 80s. But the actual mechanics of my tongue and lips, trained in a different generation, are themselves probably a giveaway of my age.

In the same way that, say Rosalind Russell's or Katherine Hepburn's youthful staccato and volume make people think that the acting in old movies was unnaturalistic, perhaps - my own seventies and eighties infused rhythms and inflections are distinct from the modes of speech in the under-thirty-five set right now, and probably sound artificial, if not downright lazy. It may be a more accurate signifier of my age than the old "check a woman's hands and elbows to see how old she really is" thing.

And oddly enough: Rosalind Russell was the absolute mistress of vocal creak ...

**Lest we think I'm talking only about female voices;
some of the most egregious infantile pronunciation currently available... 

Monday, April 11, 2016


It is the time.

It is the time again, when many of my beloved blog friends are joining the annual April A to Z blogging challenge.

I get the networking and camaraderie, but ... I just never have been a joiner. And this year, with so MANY blogs I like to check in on, I've learned there is a problem with the A to Z.

There is no. way. I can keep up with the umpty-seven blogs I like, when every one of them is posting every single day, for an entire month!

Y'ever heard of TOO much of a good thing ... ? Ack!

I've quit reading, y'all.

I'm sure you will gain other readers. And I get the networking and the fun and the challenge to seat-in-chair WRITE every day.

But some of us can't hope to keep up. Not with all of you.

It's beyond overwhelming, it's got me not reading an awful lot of the blogs I usually enjoy, at all. I dig y'all the mostest, but you've got me opting out on each of you. For a full month.


Unintended consequences ...

Saturday, April 9, 2016

At the 16:44 Mark

Janet Reid's post today was about deconstructing characters in the BAD way. Reducing women to anatomy and tossing hair - or, for that matter, men. Janet's sensitivity this poor writing has increased in the current political climate, but pointless physical descriptions of characters has irritated me for YEARS now. I can remember the time I had to tell a guy for whom I was beta reading, "If I NEVER read another scene in which a woman looks at herself in the mirror and mentally assesses her physical appeal, it will be too soon" and he had absolutely no idea that was bad. He'd read it so many times ... and, unfortunately that alone wasn't a hint in itself.

I will admit to having a little fun, early on in my work on the WIP, writing a scene in which my at-that-time MC visited her mother's homeland in Gaul, meeting Clovis I (her uncle), and describing him in some detail. His whole court.

This sort of cutting-room-floor personal amusement is the reason I say even *now* anything I "write" in the WIP is subject to trashing.

One of the most memorable descriptions of a character I ever read was in Pippin, the moment we get a paean of joy to the arch of a foot. Colleen McCullough once arrested my attention memorably with a sex scene that started with a description of the line of downy, soft hair that descended from a woman's nape down to her spine; a feature which in this day and age might well be used to delineate a woman's irredeemable hideousness.

Writing Clovis, I used almost no descriptors at all; for a first-person novel from the POV of a character little concerned with his lieutenants' looks, to do otherwise would have been disingenuous. His physical interest in his wife is palpable, but through his eyes we see little more of her than the mole that charms him and her slender, tiny hands (a feature I borrowed from my oldest friend in life, TEO, and even then gave little detail). One character I did "draw" to resemble myself. She dies early in the going, and that was an intentional reminder to myself: my characters are not my avatars.

It's at 17:55 things truly get epic with Julia Sugarbaker's epic takedown above, but starting in at 16:44 is good for context. Give it a few minutes. Donald Trump does crop up, and it's absolutely perfect.


Isn't the word hateration just too good? When my older niece was little, she liked The Hateration Song. One cannot fault her. As bum-dancing songs go, it is excellent (I actually want to just get up from the laptop right now and hit the stereo and do some damage to this filthy pigsty of a house of mine. Which: in a minute.)

Writing that last post, I got to thinking about the fact that, when I told my mom about going to see Drag Race live, all she did was laugh with that unique mix of "Diane, WHAT craziness are you into now" and the underlying clear understanding of *exactly* what craziness I am into, and why. And, of course, she could not wait to laugh some more by scandalizing my stepfather, telling him about my latest craziness. It's how the three of us bond telling on each other and laughing about it.

Of course, he's harder to scandalize than he once was.

And my mom is not scandalized, not even one whit.

Mom, a religious conservative and a Southern lady Of a Certain Age, with all that means, has always been perhaps almost curiously tolerant of homosexuality. Beyond "I just don't want them rubbing it in my face", she has no actual ire to spare for gay men (and I think "homosexuality" is a limited concept for her, mainly applying to men - where the rest of the LGBT spectrum lies in her morality is perhaps closer to the religious right's standard positions, or perhaps scarcely exists at all).

The best part of this - EVER - was about five or six years ago, when things were a little financially tight for me. I'd started selling a few things on eBay, and had picked up a repeat customer we will call Prissy. Prissy's eBay handle wasn't far off that term, but the PO Box I mailed her won auctions to was attached to a name traditionally considered to be a "boy's" name.

I was basically selling to a baby drag queen, or transgender kid - and it meant a lot to me to provide a safe place for Prissy. Prissy was a GREAT customer, and adorable, and asked me if I had any purses one time.

So: mom and I went shopping. I found clothes and shoes and some purses for Prissy.

MOM was as into this as I was. We had fun - would this work, would this be fun, would this be cute? How about this?

Shopping for drag with my mom.

And this was no furtive secret for her, either. She told people how much fun she had, and how the baby drag queen was saving my Christmas. Mom's enjoyment was pure, on its own merits - not even tied to the self-conscious PC-ery I had wrapped up in it

When I look at Adore and Violet and the many young queens RuPaul has had on Drag Race ... I remember Prissy with joy. I *hope* what she got from me gave her some nights out as happy as the feelings she still gives to me, when I remember.

I hope Prissy is happy, safe, and well.

I hope she has good shoes and a cute bag.

And I hope she's having as much fun as Adore is, in the Take Me There vid that tops her website right now. Because it would not be possible to watch that and not want to dance with her, not smile and laugh a bit.

Sometimes, ya gotta laugh.

Especially when things are least laughable.

(Born Naked) and The Rest ...

It has been a hard, hard week, and a good one.

My stepfather didn't come into our lives until I was thirty-seven or so. Like any family, we had natural resistance to change. But, over time, he has become very dear to us. Indeed, at this point I find myself unexpectedly tender and protective toward him. I love him VERY much, and now the very fact we didn't see that coming means that loving him is very gratifying.

An astute reader will guess: it is his health which has for so long been an obliquely-referenced sadness when I blog about personal feelings.

This post is not about my stepfather.

His decline has put my mom into the position of caregiving. The difficulties and challenges don't require explaining. But the particulars, for us, are no less acute for being shared by so many others.

This week, I SLAYED IT at work. I was sick'ning. I was FEE-ACE.

The three statements above are consciously and intentionally pointed thievery, mainly from RuPaul (and a little bit from Tyra Banks).

At work, I killed a graphical map presentation. I helped give birth to an initiative which stands to save my company quite a lot of money. It felt good.

And at my mom and stepfather's house, I helped them do their taxes.

Most of the time someone we love is in difficulty, we are impotent to DO anything.

The impulse is to fix. The impulse is to give advice. The impulse is to anything but passive receipt of bad news, sadness, fear, bitterness. We can't hear a problem without wanting to respond to the problem.

The secret of my life has been in responding to the person. It is why, since I was thirteen, I have been the one friends - even family - turn to. It is that saying I don't understand is a better response than fixing, advising. Thinking we do understand.

Because, even when we've been there, we never quite understand another's heart.

And so, the opportunity TO fix - TO actually, practically and concretely help - is a rare and special opportunity.

This week, I got to help.

It doesn't change the health picture. It doesn't change the fact that the secondary help I may be able to offer - to perhaps make it possible for my mom to go somewhere else and help someone else herself - is in answer to someone else's crisis. It doesn't untangle the way death creates a spiderweb that crosses more than one stand across us at any moment.

But my mom called me yesterday morning and said, "I slept."

So. What's Ru got to do with it?

Ru is my present to myself.

Drag Race has a live show, and Cute Shoes and I will get to go together. We'll get to dress up. I will meet her Gay Best Friend; someone else I know may be there with her husband, who may himself be in drag.

There will be ooh-ing and aah-ing over shoes, over wigs, over clothes and makeup.

There was already that one moment when my BROTHER got into the drag-planning and said, "You should do that greyscale makeup" and I realized I have corrupted him, and that was awesome.

Sometimes, you need something to look forward to.

I look forward to seeing the girls in the video above. I look forward to doing Pearl's "HULK SMASH" dance and loving it. I look forward to Ginger Minj's accent and sense of humor. I look forward to just looking at Violet, who is so young and so adorable and so deadly brilliant. I cannot even DEAL, that I will get to see Alaska T********** - the only thing named or remotely to do with Alaska that I ever loved (and I adore her completely).

I'm excited, excited.

And don't we ALL need that?

Friday, April 1, 2016

My April Fool

Possibly my favorite pic of Penelope

Today is Penny-dopey's made up fourth birthday. Stay tuned for May Day kittay ...